Streetcar Company provides membership club for car sharing. It provides membership registration fee annually and charges on its services of car sharing according to hours of travel. The company provides different models of cars and vans to cater for the different taste and preferences of its customers. The company faces stiff competition from Zipcar and City Car Club.
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The company has established its markets in London and the surrounding cities such as Oxford, Brighton, Southampton, Cambridge, Maidstone, Bristol, Guildford, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The first section of the study will be on the background of the study, problem and objectives statement, research questions, and purpose of the study.
The second section will be literature review and conceptual framework. The third section will be methodology. The fourth section will be on data analysis and presentation. The last section will be budget allocation and time schedule of the research. The research will begin in December 2012 to end of March. The research report presentation will be at the beginning of April to the management of the two companies.
Background of the Study
Streetcar Company is a car-sharing club launched in 2004 by Andrew Valentine and Brett Akker in London. It has grew across more than 10 cities in the United Kingdom including Oxford, Brighton, Southampton, Cambridge, Maidstone, Bristol, Guildford, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The company charges a registration fee of £20 on street van and £60 on streetcars on each member annually.
Its services cost £5 on weekdays and £6 during weekends on streetcars and £9 on street van per hour. It provides a smartcard that enables members to access its services 24 hours a day in all days in a year. It allows its customers to order cars from 30 minutes to six months through the phone or online. The company caters for all the expenses of the user that include insurance, gas, parking, maintenance.
The company established the club to allow travelers to share cars and vans to reduce costs of transport, preserve the environment, and reduce traffic jams. The company reduces costs of transport by encouraging consumers to use alternative means of transport such as cycling and walking and sharing vehicles.
It preserves the environment by reducing the fuel emission into the air and reduces traffic jams by allowing travelers to share cars to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Traffic jam has been a problem in the United Kingdom leading to time and fuel wastage (Bingley 2008, para.1).
The company innovated iPhone in 2010 that could open a car and provide services such as making orders and locating the vehicles to improve the satisfaction of customer needs and wants in the car sharing services. The company provides quality and standard services to attract and maintain customers. It has created a good image and reputation for its services. This has built a good brand name and value for the company.
It offers more than 30 models of cars and vans to cater for the different tastes and preferences of consumers. The research will be in London. It forms the potential market of the Company. It has the highest investment and budget allocation in the Company (Burns and Bush 2010, p.124; Bingley 2008, para.1).
There have been complains from its customers on poor inspection of the conditions of the cars and vans before lending it to the customers. This causes extra and high expenses and stress on the customers. Moreover, the company has been the largest car-sharing club in the United Kingdom but it is facing stiff competition from its competitors in the same industry.
This competition is affecting its market share and profits. Its main competitors are City Car Club and Zipcar. A research is necessary to help the company create a competitive advantage. The research investigates on the factors influencing sales performance of Streetcar Company in the United Kingdom. The research will help the business improve its sales performance (Gitman 2008, p.147).
Objectives of the Study
The study will investigate the bad reputation created by some customers on its poor services delivery. The study will help understand the fast growth in market share, sales, and profits achieved by the company in the past and its expectations in the future.
This will help the company make important changes in the recent management. The study will analyze the performance of the company to discover the changes in the market share and profits of the company. It will find out the image and reputation of the company in the market. It will also analyze the competitors’ strategies and competitive advantages (Koontz 1990, p.198).
- What is the reputation and image created by the company services in the target markets?
- What has caused fast growth in the market share, sales, and profits in the company over the years?
- Are the company’s services satisfying customer tastes and preference?
- What are the trends in the performance of the company’s services in the recent years?
- Which are the competitor strategies and competitive advantages?
- How are the competitors’ strategies and competitive advantages affecting the market share and profits of the company.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine the satisfaction of customer needs and wants in the sharing cars and vans from Streetcar Company. The research will seek to establish the segments of its customers, travel patterns, expectations, demands, and their experiences in the service. The research will also measure their expenses and expectations.
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The company needs to understand the opinions of the consumers in order to make good decisions and strategies in the business. This is a sensitive market and failure of immediate action may lead to collapse of the company in the future. Their marketing strategies should increase the market share of the sector, as it is one of the highest revenue generating businesses in the United Kingdom.
The service sector comes with many risks that could affect both the customers and the company. The car sharing business relies on the reputation of the public to make sales. This makes it difficult for the company to carry out the business without research on its customers opinions (Ireland 2006, p.124).
The researcher will consult the management of the company in London to provide any information that may help complete the research successfully. The consultation will use the internet, magazine and journal sources and any other technology used by the management for instant the market information systems (MIS).
The study will make use of structured questionnaires in providing direct insight on the customers’ satisfaction and needs trends. The questions will guide on the requirements of the study and the secondary sources to use. The questions will cover the scope of the contributions of the study (Kotler 2009, p.65).
Contribution of Literature to the Study
Most researchers address the issue of customer satisfaction in making success in business. For any business to survive and grow profits and market share must be the main objective. Organizations are adopting consumer feedback in their management practices. Competition for market share has improved the quality and standard of car sharing in the United States.
Companies in the industry introduce new service delivery techniques now and then to maximize customer satisfaction. They aim to attract and maintain substantial market share to survive in the competitive market. Service delivery goes hand in hand with the product. The companies have introduced modern and sophisticated car models to satisfy customer tastes and preferences.
The combination of the marketing mix elements is very important in sensitive markets, such as that of car sharing. The management must balance the value of the services and the money spent by the customer. This means that price, product, place, and promotion are important aspects in determining the direction of the business (Gitman 2008, p.154).
Technology improves the quality and standard of service and products delivered. The availability of telephone and online has made booking easy. This has increased the competition in the industry as consumers have a variety to choose from with ease.
However, they have been of great help in the industry by increasing the speed of operations of the booking activities, reducing costs of operations, and creating a competitive advantage on the successful companies. Streetcar incorporates benchmarking to ensure that it utilizes the best practices in the business to create a competitive advantage and improve its market share.
It has different car models and a unique car and van color to differentiate its services from those of its competitors. It accompanies its services with quality and prestige to maximize customer satisfaction.
Streetcar performance is necessary to create good image and a strong brand name and value to be successful. It trains its employees to improve their skills and knowledge in the business. Customer satisfaction comes first in all its operations (Kotler 2009, p.66).
Literature contributes that it is challenging dealing with customers’ satisfaction. The business has to incorporate changing demand in customer demands. These make products and image a major success in Streetcar Company. It ensures good relationship with customers to improve customer loyalty and trust.
The streetcar company is a club. Therefore, the users must pay a registration fee to access its services that cost £20 on street van and £60. It ensures security of its customers by providing strict regulation and policies on the drivers. They must be 21 to 75 years of age with a driving license with at least 12 months experience. The members receive a smartcard that enables access to its services at high quality and standards.
The company has potential of succeeding in the market through improving the quality of its services. The company should use vivid advertisements to attract customers to its services. These advertisements should match with the services to maximize customer satisfaction (Ireland 2006, p.132).
Researchers and practitioners help businesses by providing advice on planning and strategy formulation and implementation. This has helped most businesses improve their sales performance. Companies and customers utilize literature review in their decision making to avoid making mistakes.
The methodology of research will cover the processes and procedures of data collection and analysis. It will elaborate on the sampling techniques to be followed, the target technique, sampling technique, data analysis and data presentation. The research will use both primary and secondary data sources.
The primary data will entail observation and administering questionnaires, which will use a combination of semi structured and unstructured forms of questions, simple, and straight to the point that will contain the pertinent issues on satisfaction of customers on management of the services.
Secondary data will entail library searches, internet searches, books and journals. The research will therefore be qualitative so that the study can generate numerical data for statistical and deductive analysis. This methodology is also the most ideal for analyses of the results by the researcher (Kotler 2009, p.65).
A Research design transforms the research question into a testing project. The researcher can either use a qualitative or quantitative research design. The qualitative research design carries out case studies on different items within their conceptual frameworks and considers the meaning of the research objectives that public pay attention in their situations.
On the other hand, quantitative design carries out social trials and investigations by assessing limitations and possibilities of items in the study. This research will use the qualitative research design.
Qualitative research design will use descriptive research to tabulate the gathered data along a scale to fulfill the research objectives. Descriptive research will fulfill the objectives by reducing the information into a manageable form to provide a detailed explanation on each item in the research (Koontz 1990, p.120).
Data collection will be to exemplify the procedure of gathering and organizing information in the research process to compare the variables on each item. The data collection process will use primary and secondary sources to fulfill the objectives of the study. The researcher will use observation and administering of questionnaires in the data collection.
Research questions will be on each item on study. Each item will have three questions to increase the reliability and dependability of the data to be collected. Through the information collected, it will be easier to analyze the data. Administering questions will be the most convenient way to the researcher in collecting information from the respondents. It consumes less time and money.
A camera will collect data on the observation method of data collection. The researcher will collect information from the media and publications to increase the accuracy, reliability, dependability, and weight of the issues discussed. Some of the information will serve as evidence to the issues raised by customers (Stull 2008, p.45).
The researcher will visit the field for the research and do a calculation and estimation on the possible potential sample method to use, the population sample and sample size. This will help the researcher make meaningful conclusions and measurement on how to make the qualitative research method successful (Ireland 2006, p.144).
In this research, the target population is the customer. The customer is the potential respondent in this research because he or she has the first hand information on the variables on study. The population will constitute of 10, 000 customers (Koontz 1990, p.102).
Sampling will select the subset of individuals from within the population of customers. The research process will use probability-sampling method. This study will use random sampling methods. Random and systematic sampling method will be the most efficient on such a large population. Random sampling technique will give an equal chance to all the customers to participate in the research process.
Systematic sampling technique will identify customers purchasing car-sharing services because they form the potential respondents for the study. These sampling methods will allow fast data collection, low costs, homogeneity and enhancement of quality and accuracy of the research process (Gitman 2008, p.146).
Out of 10, 000 potential respondents only 50 will participate in the actual research process. The researcher considered time and budget allocated for the research process in choosing the sample size (Koontz 1990, p.104).
Data Analysis and Presentation Techniques
Data analysis will investigate, select, transform, and model the data collected from the research questionnaires to emphasize on the essential offering for decision-making. SPSS software will analyze and present the data into tables and graphs. The techniques suitable for this study are the reliability testing, descriptive analysis and the influential analysis.
Reliability testing will measure the accuracy, reliability and dependability of the research process. The descriptive analysis will measure the frequency of items on the biographical and geographical data.
It will also measure the descriptive statistics on each item in the independent variables using the mean, sum, and standard deviation. The influential analysis will compute the weight of the dependent variables to enable the research fulfill the objectives and answer the questions of the research (Kistner 2002, p.32).
The research will take five months. This will be from December to April in 2012. The researcher will familiarize with the organization, identify, and analyze the research problem within the month of December. In January, the researcher will plan on how to carry out the research. The researcher will decide the methods to use in the research, estimate the expected expenditure and resources.
The researcher will prepare the research proposal to guide in the research process. This includes the preparation, typing, and printing of the questionnaires.
In February, the researcher will carry out the real study by administering the questionnaires to the respondents. In March, the researcher will analyze the collected data to come up with the result. In April, the researcher will prepare the report and present it to the users (Stull 2008, p.45).
In order to carry out this research successfully, the resources required include a laptop, electricity, money, internet services, digital camera, stationery, and a mobile phone. Laptop will help in recording and storing information collected from the respondents. This is a reliable storage facility because information is stored permanently.
A digital camera will help in taking photographs on the cars, vans, respondents, and business activities. Writing materials are very essential when carrying out a research.
This is because the activity involves lots of note taking. The researcher notes down information gathered from the respondents in a notebook. The researcher analyses the short notes when compiling the report. Pens should also be enough for the number of people intended to fill in the questionnaires (Koontz 1990, p.117).
Money is a major resource. In order to carry out any research, the researcher should ensure that the researcher has enough funds. Most of the activities need money. For instance, money caters for transport purposes. In order to collect reliable data, the researcher should collect data from different places and respondents and then compare them. This will require the researcher to travel from one destination to another.
The researcher can hire a car, use public means or board a plane. The researcher should have enough transport money. Money caters for food and accommodation. What and where the researcher will eat, rest and sleep has to be paid. The researcher will get food and accommodations in hotels.
The researcher should have airtime to feed the mobile phone to enable communications to take place, pay assistants who help in carrying out research as well as be in a position to cater for all the medical needs (Koontz 1990, p.119).
In order to carry out the research successfully, the researcher will have to hire somebody who will assist me carryout various activities. For instance, the personnel will help in distributing questionnaires to respondents and collecting them. The research assistant will also help in collection and documentation of data. The personnel will be of help because the area of study is large.
The personnel will ease the process of research by providing advice, efficiency, and motivation in the research process. The researcher will interview the personnel to ensure that they have the capability of providing quality work. The researcher will need to know the challenges the personnel face and take action to solve those problems.
Finally, I will need assistance of people working in as tour guides and those in tourist industries. These people will be of great help because they interact directly with the tourists. They therefore know what tourists most. They will help identify the areas that need modifications to meets high quality and standards (Gitman 2008, p.167).
|Typing and printing||2700|
|Living expenses (Food and accommodation)||1500|
|Telephone, Fax, Postage, Email||1200|
Streetcar is a great spot for customers in Streetcar and the surrounding cities. The research will determine whether the customers are satisfied with the services and the other reasons why they prefer the company services and not the competitors.
It will also examine the drastic improvements in the profits, market share, and sales in Streetcar Inn. The opinions of the respondents will be highly appreciated as their contributions have made the research to be successful. Money and time are the main resources required in the study. Researchers are flexible to ensure that the research process is complete within the allocated budget and time.
Lists of References
Bingley, L 2008, Review: Streetcar car rental scheme, Business Green Publishers, London.
Burns, A & Bush, R 2010, Marketing research, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River.
Gitman, L 2008, The future of business: The essentials, Cengage Learning, Boston.
Ireland, D 2006, Entrepreneurship: successfully launching new ventures, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.
Kistner, T 2002, Network world, IDG Network World Incorporation, New York.
Koontz, A 1990, Essentials of management 8E, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, New York.
Kotler, P 2009, Principles of marketing, Pearson Education Australia, French’s Forest.
Stull, C 2008, Tuned in: Uncover the extraordinary opportunities that lead to business breakthroughs, John Wiley and Sons, New York.